Before We Get to That, Let’s Review the Background Information
Our kidneys are essential organs that filter waste from our blood to produce urine. Minerals in your urine sometimes stick together and form what is known as kidney stones. If you are suffering from a kidney stone, you might not even realize it until the stone passes into your ureter or moves around in your kidney. But, when it does, you’re likely to be in a lot of pain. Though some kidney stones are small enough that you might not feel them as they pass. Kidney stone pain may come and go and vary in intensity. Kidney stones rarely cause any damage, but complications may arise if the stone does not release from the urinary tract or if it causes related complications. In cases like these, surgery may be necessary.
Signs and Symptoms
A result of an accumulation of dissolved minerals on the lining of your kidneys, kidney stones are mostly made up of calcium oxalate. It has been estimated that one in 20 people will experience kidney stones during their lifetime. Men are more likely than women to be affected by kidney stones and most people experience them between the ages of 30 and 50. As the stone releases into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder, you may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain located in the back, groin, or stomach area (below the ribs)
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Frequent and painful urination
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Pain that fluctuates in intensity
- Persistent need to urinate
- Fever and chills (indicative of an infection)
- Only able to urinate small amounts at a time
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is wise to see your doctor right away. Your condition may be serious as lower back and belly pain can be symptomatic of many different serious medical conditions including kidney stones, appendicitis, and ectopic pregnancy. STDs are sometimes the cause of painful urination as well. It is best to get checked out by your physician so he or she can treat you in the best way. It’s rare that kidney stones are diagnosed prior to them causing any pain. It’s not unheard of and happens quite frequently to go to the ER when you are experiencing kidney pain, because of the severity of the pain. CT scans, urinalysis, X-rays, and ultrasounds may be conducted to specifically determine a diagnosis of kidney stones.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
So, what is it that actually causes the buildup of calcium, oxalate, uric acid, and other minerals that cause kidney stones? When there are more minerals in your kidneys than your kidneys can effectively dilute, kidney stones are likely to result. The number one cause of kidney stones is lack of enough water. A list of the possible causes of kidney stones is presented below.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (e.g., Crohn’s Disease)
- Use of Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements
- Family History
- Other Medical Conditions
- Use of Fluoride in Drinking Water
If you are drinking less than the prescribed 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, you may be at a higher risk of being dehydrated and suffering from kidney stones because your kidneys do not have enough water to dilute the minerals which cause the stones to begin with. Certain medical conditions, inclusive of Crohn’s disease, gout, urinary tract infections, hyperparathyroidism, renal tubular acidosis, medullary sponge kidney, and Dent’s disease have also shown to be associated with an increase in the occurrence of kidney stones.
Other risk factors for kidney stones include a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, a diet high in protein and sodium, certain medications, and high blood pressure. A family history of kidney stones also increases your chance of suffering from them as well.
You’re suffering from a kidney stone and in a lot of pain. It comes as no surprise that you’re likely wondering what the treatment options are. While some (small) kidney stones may pass on their own, your doctor is most likely to prescribe some type of medication to ease the pain and help the passing of the stone. Drugs called alpha-blockers relax the lining of the ureter to allow the stone to pass more easily. If you are prone to kidney stones, your doctor may prescribe you medication that prevents the stones from forming to prevent future occurrences. Finally it is becoming clear that one of the most effective treatment options is to dissolve the kidney stones with heavy doses of lab grade Chanca Piedra. Used for centuries in South America, this wonder plant’s potency is finally being realized by Americans suffering from repeat kidney stones.
In some cases, surgery may be performed to rid the body of the stone. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), the most common surgical technique, is used to remove stones that do not pass on their own. This method of treatment uses high-energy shock waves that break the kidney stone into small pieces that are more able to move through the urinary tract.
Ureteroscopy is a technique used when the kidney stone has made its way out of the kidney and almost to the bladder. In this method of treatment, a thin tube is inserted into the ureter to break up the stone so that it may pass more easily through the bladder. No incision is needed in this method.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
After suffering from a kidney stone, you are likely wondering how to prevent any future stones from occurring. There are a number of preventative techniques you can use to decrease the likelihood of mineral build up in your kidneys.
- Stay hydrated and drink more water
- Steer clear of saunas, hot tubs, and heavy exercises that cause you to sweat excessively
- When eating calcium and oxalates, eat them together during a meal. This is so they bind together in the stomach and can be processed prior to hitting the kidneys (where they bind together there causing a kidney stone)
- Cut back on sodium
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
By eating a well-balanced diet and staying properly hydrated, you are more likely to prevent the occurrence of kidney stones and resultant complications. Not only that, a well-balanced diet and drinking water are healthy practices, in general, leading to your well-being.